Zollo Brings Hollywood to IOP
Approximately 65 students were treated last night to a lively political discussion led by Fred Zollo, a famous film and theater producer, who is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Politics (IOP).
The event, which took place in Boylston Hall, was the first in a series of weekly Pizza and Politics sessions sponsored by the IOP.
When Zollo announced the evening's topic: Clinton and Lewinsky, the room quickly became energized.
"I see a lot of drama now in what is going on in Washington," said Zollo, who has built a career on producing dramas that spark ethical debates.
His works include the critically acclaimed films Mississippi Burning and Quiz Show and the play Angels in America.
For a little over an hour, Zollo expressed his opinions on the current Clinton scandal and on politics in general.
Although he is a Democrat, Zollo acknowledged, "The Democrats today are acting just as partisan as the Republicans acted during Watergate."
"I want to see the impeachment proceedings play themselves out, and let's see what happens," he said.
In Zollo's opinion, the Clinton presidency's legacy is one of missed opportunities.
Zollo said he believes Clinton's tenure has been defined by a lot of talk and not enough action.
He cited the genocide in Bosnia and gay rights as two critical issues to which the Clinton presidency has given plenty of lip service, but has made few real strides.
Paraphrasing former president Ronald W. Reagan, Zollo said, "We can still be that Shining City upon a Hill, but we have to make sure we don't fuck it up."
Student reaction to the discussion was quite positive.
Rebecca C. Hardiman '01, who organized the event for the IOP, was elated about the event's success.
"This was an exciting evening," she said. "He [Zollo] brings a lot of life to everything he does."
Despite being a conservative Republican, David F. Mihalyfy '02 found much he could relate to in Zollo's presentation, and respected his ability to distance himself from partisan politics.
"He's extremely intelligent and entertaining," Mihalyfy said.
However, not everyone at the meeting agreed with what Zollo had to say. Julie S. Wecsler '02 and Jennifer S. Wagner '01 said they do not believe Clinton's personal indiscretions should be grounds for impeachment.
"Zollo seemed to sometimes simplify the issue," Wecsler said.
Despite any disagreements with Zollo's opinions, Wagner still enjoyed the event.
"He's certainly entertaining and charismatic. I just didn't agree with everything he had to say," Wagner said.
Others felt Zollo's politics were not the most important thing he brought to the discussion.
"I don't think it matters what his point is, he made the event lively and interesting," Hardiman said. "He got the students excited about the issues."
Hardiman said she hopes students will continue to get even more excited about the Pizza and Politics program as the year continues.
Pizza and Politics will meet every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Zollo will be at Harvard this semester leading a study group called "Fade in: Politics in Film, Not necessarily in that Order." The sessions will be every Tuesday from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Kennedy School of Government.